NC 9th election results held up for investigation into voter fraud
The North Carolina elections board has refused to certify the results of the 9th District congressional race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready, which Harris won by 905 votes. The board cites "irregularities" in the absentee ballot process as the major reason.
The board voted 9-0 not to certify the results, with both Republicans and Democrats agreeing that the results needed to be investigated.
The man at the center of speculation about the alleged activities, McCrae Dowless, was paid by the Harris campaign as a contractor for the candidate's top consultant.
In a letter to the chairman of the state elections board, Democratic Party attorney John Wallace urged the board to delay certification beyond Friday's scheduled meeting.
"After pulling the fire alarm on Tuesday, the State Board cannot in good conscience certify the election three days later, when so much smoke continues to hang over this election," he wrote.
Wallace went on to say a review of public records "confirms that serious irregularities and improprieties may have occurred." Bladen County had the highest percentage of absentee ballot requests in the state. There, 7.5 percent of registered voters requested absentee ballots. In most counties it was less than 3 percent.
An analysis by Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer suggested more aberrations.
That certainly sounds fishy. And Bladen County wasn't the only place where suspicious activity was discovered.
In seven of the eight counties in the 9th District, for example, McCready won a lopsided majority of the mailed-in absentee ballots. But not in Bladen County. There, Republican Mark Harris won 61 percent even though registered Republicans accounted for only 19 percent of the county's accepted absentee ballots.
Unaffiliated voters accounted for 39 percent. Bitzer said Harris' margin "could potentially come from all those unaffiliated voters."
"But to have each and every one of those unaffiliated voters vote Republican, that's pretty astonishing," he added. "If that's the case, there's a very concerted effort to use that method to one candidate's advantage. ... But at that level there's something else beyond a concerted effort that could be at work."
I really wish elections boards would become just as suspicious when strange happenings occur in Democratic counties. When some Democratic enclaves have more votes cast than registered voters, a red flag should be raised somewhere. It usually isn't.
This appears to be a clumsy attempt to game the absentee ballot system in favor of the Republican. If so, many of those ballots should be tossed and the rest recounted.
In the end, the irregularities might show up for both parties. But this gives the lie to those who claim there is no voter fraud in America. There is, and in this case, it might have tipped a race to the cheating side.